Harlem YMCA

The Harlem YMCA is located at 180 West 135th Street between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Built in 1931-32, the red-brown brick building with neo-Georgian details was designed by the Architectural Bureau of the National Council of the YMCA, with James C. Mackenzie Jr. as the architect in charge.[2][3] It replaced the building from 1919 across the street.[3] Inside the building is a mural by Aaron Douglas titled "Evolution of Negro Dance." The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976,[5][6] and was designated a New York City Landmark in 1998.[2]

Harlem YMCA
(Claude McKay Residence)
Harlem YMCA 180 West 135th Street from below.jpg
Harlem YMCA is located in Manhattan
Harlem YMCA
Harlem YMCA
Harlem YMCA is located in New York
Harlem YMCA
Harlem YMCA
Harlem YMCA is located in the United States
Harlem YMCA
Harlem YMCA
Location180 West 135th Street
Manhattan, New York City[1]
Coordinates40°48′51″N 73°56′30″W / 40.81417°N 73.94167°W / 40.81417; -73.94167Coordinates: 40°48′51″N 73°56′30″W / 40.81417°N 73.94167°W / 40.81417; -73.94167
Area9.9 acres (4.0 ha)
ArchitectJames C. Mackenzie Jr. (architect in charge)[3]
NRHP reference #76002143[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 8, 1976[1]
Designated NHLDecember 8, 1976[4]
Designated NYCLFebruary 10, 1998
The top of the building

History and significanceEdit

The Harlem YMCA is a significant landmark of black culture in New York City. Intended primarily for the use of African-American men at a time when most YMCAs were for whites only, it was one of the best equipped YMCAs in the United States.[7] Its upper floors were designed for use as residences, whose occupants include a number of prominent personalities.[5]

African-American author Maria Celeste lived in the building from 1941 through 1946,[5] Bill Clinton is a current member.[8] and many notable black Americans have stayed at the facility, including Malcolm X – then Malcolm Little – who chose to stay there because of its proximity to his favorite nightclubs.[9] The building was designated a US National Historic Landmark in 1976 for its association with the African-American writer Claude McKay (1889-1948), a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance who was resident here from 1941 until 1946.[5]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009). Postal, Matthew A. (ed.). Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1.
  3. ^ a b c White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 541. ISBN 978-0-19538-386-7.
  4. ^ "Claude McKay Residence". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-10. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06.
  5. ^ a b c d ""Claude McKay Residence", by Lynne Gomez-Graves (National Register of Historic Places Inventory)" (pdf). National Park Service. n.d.
  6. ^ "Claude McKay Residence--Accompanying photo, exterior, from 1976 (National Register of Historic Places Inventory)" (pdf). National Park Service. n.d.
  7. ^ New York Landmarks Preservation Committee plaque, 1999
  8. ^ Harris, Bill. One Thousand New York Buildings, Black Dog and Leventhal. 2002. ISBN 1-57912-443-7; p.374.
  9. ^ Perry, Bruce. Malcolm: The Life of the Man Who Changed Black America (1992)

External linksEdit